This is the first year in my life that I’m looking back on the year and thinking not about how much I did and what I accomplished but why how much I changed as a person.
In previous years I would look back and tick off of how many new countries I travelled to, what major events happened and either congratulate myself on what I did do or give myself shit for what I didn’t do, then swiftly make a promise to myself to do them the following year.
This time I’m able to look back on 2019 and reflect on the little things, the small steps I took that had major impacts on my life. It reminds me and is proof that life is a marathon and not a spirt and that a simple decision really can change your life because for me, 2019, was a year of many small changes, mostly internal, that sent me on a journey that I could never have predicted.
This year instead of just writing about what happened to me, I also want to share ways in which you can incorporate what I’ve learned that has helped me tremendously into your life so maybe you too can transform in ways that you didn’t think possible, just like I did this year.
2019’s word of the year
I’m really loving this trend of having a word of the year, so long as words are picked using intuition and not so you can beat yourself up if you’re not following through with whatever your word is and its meaning to you.
This time I’m assigning a word for the year that has passed and that word is transformational.
Whether you know me well or not at all or are a reader that I’ve not yet had the chance of speaking to, you may wonder why I chose transformational because when you look at me there’s nothing physical or tangible that you can see that has transformed.
That’s because all of it was from the inside.
My outlook on life changed. How I see myself changed. How I view the world changed. What I want to do with my business changed. My mindset changed. My feelings changed. My life changed.
By learning to embrace things such as gratitude and appreciation, adopting the belief of manifestation and getting into spirituality has allowed me to transform in ways only I know of.
These inner transformations have shown on the outside though, and I believed that others wouldn’t see it, but they did. My family and close friends noticed these changes the most obviously, but I also think you guys, my dear readers, have noticed as well and I thank you for sticking around through this ongoing process.
What happened in 2019
For each month I’m going to break down where I was, anything major that happened and the mindset shift I experienced for each plus a tip that you can use.
Places visited: Singapore, Thailand, Bali
I kicked off 2019 going back to one of my favourite countries, Singapore, to meet up with my best friend from college who also loves to travel. We spent time indulging in Singapore and playing tourist before heading to Thailand with stops in Krabi, Koh Lipe and Koh Lanta, all new spots for me in Thailand.
Thailand I have always considered one of my favourites countries but for some reason this time round I didn’t love it as much. It didn’t deter me from visiting again but maybe I’ve changed or maybe Thailand has changed. Either way, I loved Koh Lipe (expect for the trip getting there), but was disappointed in Krabi and Koh Lanta.
We split ways in Koh Lanta and I got to meet up with another of my friends, a girl I met in Bali and we had deep soulful conversations that I can only have with some friends. It was her that introduced me to a few things that began to shift my outlook on life.
At the time she was more spiritual and open than me so she suggested I read the book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza. She told me she thought that I was at a crossroads in my life and that the book would benefit me by helping me through the crossroad. She also suggested the podcast Manifestation Babe.
At the time I was not into personal development or manifestation or even podcasts really (all I listened to was Serial and This American Life).
I kept both ideas tucked away on notes on my phone and left for Bali where I landed at night and the next morning woke up sick in bed, where I stayed for the next week, being the sickest I’ve ever been in my life.
Life tip: Keep a note (or multiple like I do) of things that people suggest to you. You obviously have the choice to listen to said suggestion right away or keep a tally of how many times something is mentioned to you/you see it. Whenever I see or hear of something 3 times I know that the universe is giving me nudges and that I should listen!
Places visited: Bali
February I spent the whole month in Bali, upgrading my accommodation and scooter, eating a bit better food, getting massages, getting a membership at a gym and actually going to a co-working space.
These upgrades were all a big deal to me because the last time I was in Bali (a year before) I refused to spend much money, trying to do it as cheap as possible and thus stressing more about money than I was enjoying Bali. So this time I got the full Bali experience and it was wonderful.
I also got a really solid group of friends and was busy all the time and loving it. It felt like I was on a constant high and this is when I wrote my post about reaching peak happiness (which I’ve now realized was not the peak because life got better!).
I did a lil’ trip up to Ubud with some new friends and had blast travelling with other travel bloggers and content creators but was also completely exhausted trying to keep up travelling, creating content and fit in me time. I know, saying that I sound so spoiled like how was I tired travelling and taking pictures?!
But the truth is that I was and this was just another hint to myself that I needed to back off from travelling so much because I wasn’t enjoying it as much anymore. And when you lose the joy in something what’s the point in continuing? I continued anyway thinking it’d pass.
February also marked the last month that I did any freelance work! At the time I was still doing freelance writing for 5-10 hours a week for extra income before I took the leap of faith relying on my blog solely for income.
Life tip: I know it’s easy to say to stop stressing about money but seriously the stress only creates more stress which wreaks havoc on your body, mind and spirit. Do whatever you need to do to see money as a tool and not an end all be all.
EFT tapping (emotional freedom technique) is something I used a lot to help me with money mindset and it has helped tremendously. Search “Brad Yates money” on YouTube and there’s a whole slew of videos to help you release stagnant and unneeded worries around money!
March I was still in Bali doing the same old, same old but March also marked the month that I had my spiritual awakening.
Yeah, shit got woo in March.
In February I started listening to that Manifestation Babe podcast that my friend recommended and thought the woman who hosts it, Kathrin Zenkina, was batshit crazy. Yet, I kept listening.
March was also when I attended my first woman’s circle which a friend suggested to me. The experience was amazing and I loved it but also was questioning what the fuck I was doing most of the time.
We danced, we meditated, we held hands, we burned things, we wrote things down, we sang. It was weird but it was also so freeing.
It was at this woman’s circle that I met my first coach, Christy, who came up to me after the circle and told me that I had manifested her into my life. I thought she was nuts, but also partly believed her because of the manifestation podcast I had been listening to.
She followed up with me after we added each other on Instagram and bravely I said I’d like to met in person and talk about what she had to offer as a coach.
If she had never followed up with me I would have been too scared to reach out on my own. So there I was, just a month after even adding the words manifestation and mindset into my inner vocabulary (I still never said them to anyone out loud because I was too uncomfortable still) with the woman who became my coach for 3 months.
It was the first time in my life that I had ever invested in myself in the personal development sense. I previously saw coaches as completely useless and didn’t understand why anyone would need a life coach.
Yet now I am so thankful that Christy came into my life because she helped me begin to open up, become vulnerable and develop a better relationship with myself, my family, friends, my business and life in general.
Life tip: Look into a life coach or a life coach’s program. There are many who specialize in different areas or use different tips and techniques to help you. I can honestly say that having a life coach is one of the reasons why my year was so transformational.
I became kinder, less aggressive and angry and am just better able to understand myself and people.
Places visited: Hong Kong, Ottawa (home)
I had round trip tickets booked between Ottawa and Singapore and didn’t have enough time left on my Indonesia visa so I had to make a little trip for 5 days and decided on Hong Kong as I had never been before.
I really enjoyed Hong Kong and would love to go back with friends as I think I’d enjoy the city even more with people because I did end up spending a lot of time by myself.
It was a hard come down being by myself so much as I had just spent 2 months almost always with people and on a high so I didn’t enjoy the city as much as I could have. Hong Kong though, I could easily see myself living in. It’s an amazing city for it’s nature, ease of getting around and communicating, shopping, things to do and food.
The rest of the month I spent at home where I adjusted to some new family dynamics that I struggled with.
I only had a month of rest though so I focused on my blog, excited to see that after quitting freelancing in February my months income wise were getting better and better.
Life tip: Having a devleoped morning routine really helped me through April to keep calm, let go of control and focus. A morning routine is one of the first top tips I’d give to anyone who is struggling to feel like they are spinning, stuck or unsure about something.
My morning routine changes but it always includes some type of journaling (I recommend The 5 Minute Journal), reading and meditation or EFT tapping.
Places visited: Morocco, Spain and Italy
I spent 16 days in Morocco with a fellow travel blogger mostly hating it. We purposely went together as we both admitted to being intimidated by travelling in Morocco solo. I’m very happy we went together as it made the experience bearable.
I’m not going to go into detail about my experience in Morocco or why I disliked it so much because I have a whole article on Morocco that explains everything. If you want to travel to Morocco as a solo female my recommendation is a group tour, though I do know other people who enjoyed it solo.
I struggled travelling with my friend, going between loving having someone around to wanting to be alone. It was hard for me to handle and at times I didn’t handle it very well. It was also around this time I began to realize I was over hostels and wanted to start prioritizing my alone time.
My next stop was Madrid though my budget didn’t allow for a private room so I ended up in a 4 bed dorm which was still an upgrade for me.
I spent a week in Madrid, half playing tourist, half playing local. I did some tours, joined a local group for yoga in a park and spent a lot of time walking through and sitting in parks to read and listen to podcasts.
I felt very confused as to what was happening with my emotions and why I suddenly wasn’t enjoying travel as much anymore. I had a difficult time admitting that I wasn’t and felt guilty for even admitting it.
I craved stability and the comforts of home but I still had commitments later on in my trip so I couldn’t go home. My fix was to book myself into an affordable yoga retreat on the coast of Italy.
But after some serious thinking I cancelled the retreat, got my money back, and booked a ticket home and then back to Europe between my commitments, spending more on flights than I wished to but feeling immediate relief after.
I finished May off by visiting Granada (which I loved), Seville (which I liked but didn’t really do anything in other than work) and Milan where I met up with a friend I met in Portugal 2 years before. I didn’t really like Milan and hated the fact that it was where I had my scariest hostel experience ever, waking up in the middle of the night to find a man standing over my bed which he then preceded to pee on.
Luckily I had gotten out of the bed before he peed and I escaped the experience unharmed and dry but shaken up.
Life tip: Learning to listen to your gut (your intuition) is probably the most important thing you can do. I always let my bank account make decisions for me but this time, booking my ticket home and then back to Europe, I let my gut tell me what was best and it resulted in less stress and more freedom for me.
Places visited: Italy, Ottawa, Moncton (New Brunswick, Canada), London
I finished up my time in Italy at a travel blogging conference (Traverse) in Trento, a colourful town surrounded by mountains in the north. It reunited me with old friends and introduced me to many more. I was around my people again and I loved it.
While I enjoyed the conference it also made me realize that my passion for travel blogging was slipping away. I was beginning to feel like it wasn’t fulfilling me and I was questioning why I was still wanting to do it.
After the conference I flew home for 2 weeks where I helped move my little sister to Moncton on Canada’s east coast, enjoyed some downtime and then flew to London for 5 days, catching up with some friends and attending a self love conference, The Self Love Summit.
Purchasing the ticket to the Self Love Summit was something I did for myself earlier on in the year as a treat for my birthday which was just a few days before the summit. It left me feeling vulnerable that I was investing into myself but I was glad I went and experienced something new and was introduced to a numbers of speakers who are inspiring individuals.
Life tip: Investing in yourself is the ultimate gift but it doesn’t require large investments. It could be as simple as treating yourself to a latte, extra time in the bath, a yoga class or cooking yourself a healthy meal. Find what is your love language (do you like people buying things for you, saying sweet things, etc.) and use that love language for yourself.
Places visited: Ottawa
July was an emotional month for me due to a few personal things happening which I don’t wish to disclose (but don’t worry all is fine healthwise).
I moved in with a friend in downtown Ottawa, only to move out 2 weeks later, realizing that what I thought was the perfect decision, wasn’t.
I visited some family and then made the bold move to stay put in Ottawa until November.
Life tip: I personally use animal spirit cards or tarot cards to sometimes help me make decisions. I always tell people who are skeptical of them that the cards don’t tell you what to do, it’s the emotions that come up and what you feel when a card is flipped for a question you have that gives you the answer. In July my cards helped me realize that I needed to settle down.
Places visited: Ottawa
In August I stayed put at home and even cancelled a trip I had to visit someone because I knew the trip was going to stress me out. I made the decision for my mental health and myself and the person I was supposed to visit understood and agreed it was best.
It was the first time I ever cancelled a trip and I have 0 regrets.
It was also the first time I ever invested so much into my business, purchasing a program that has helped me tremendously understand marketing, creating courses and selling so much more. It was worth every penny and I spent the month diving in and learning which I so enjoyed (learning is a comfy place for me).
Life tip: I highly encourage you to constantly be learning about something. Whether its through a book, podcast, course, documentary…learning new things keeps you alive and healthy mentally.
Places visited: Ottawa
I stayed home all September too, focused still on learning and beginning to implement some ideas I had.
I attempted to launch a course on burnout, only to pull back at the last minute, realizing how it wasn’t in align with what I really wanted to be doing. I tried, I failed, I’m okay with that and am proud of myself for giving it a go.
I hired my second life coach of the year, Taylor (yes, I think it’s awesome that we have the same name) after listening to every episode of her podcast (Vibe Higher by Taylor Stone). She focuses on energy, health and movement so she had me on a detox that pushed me through a ton of emotions but had me so thankful I did it after the 2 weeks was up.
I also tried a reiki session for the first time which is energy healing. It was pretty freakin’ special and the girl who was working on me asked questions about things that she could not have known about. It was amazing, freaky and cool all at the same time.
Life tip: If you’re new to the idea of energetics I highly recommend learning more about it. It’s not woo, it’s science and it proves how our thoughts and the energy we produce effects us. Dr. Joe Dispenza is one of the leaders of energetics and explains everything very factual based.
Places visited: Ottawa, Los Angeles, Bali
After Thanksgiving at home for the first time in 4 years I jetted off to L.A for a couple days in Venice before heading down to Irvine for my first ever business conference, BBD LIVE.
The conference was run by the guy’s business program I bought (James Wedmore’s Business by Design) and it was incredible to be surrounded by like-minded people who were all doing different things. It was because of this conference that I announced that I am hosting my first group tour in 2020. You can fill out the survey here if you’re interested in travelling with me!
I then made my way back to Bali where I spent a week loving being back but also feeling a little lost without all of my friends around.
Life tip: I’m sure you’ve heard the advice before to find your tribe but I’m saying it again anyway. Being around “your people” by this I mean the people that support you, help you and push you, is life changing. Having a group that is there for you and understands you and your crazy ideas will help you succeed in life. Trying to do anything alone is 100 times harder.
Places visited: Bali
In November I immersed myself in yoga teacher training, which was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I won’t go into details because I’ve written about the whole experience previously.
If you’ve ever thought about yoga teacher training, just do it, it opened me up in ways I didn’t know I could, helped me gain strength mentally and physically and become clearer on my life’s path and purpose.
If you’re interested in yoga teacher training the exact studio I did mine with has trainings this year in March and July. The studio is called Odyssey and you can save $500USD booking early. Plus, if you use my name you get an extra $100USD off!
Email Erin at [email protected] and let her know that I (Taylor) sent you or use the code online Taylor100. You can always email Erin with any questions about the course as well (but yes, it is suitable for beginners too).
Life tip: Movement helps with everything. Whether you like yoga, strength training, running, swimming, whatever it is. Just move. If you move for just 30 minutes a day (quite often for me it’s walking) you will get clearer and feel better mentally and physically. For me, yoga just so happens to be the best way for me to feel the most connected to myself and to my intuition.
Places visited: Bali, Ottawa
I finished my time in Bali with a friend in Ubud before flying home and wanting to completely shut off. I disconnected from social media and have never felt so connected to myself.
It was a freeing experience that allowed me to get clear on what I really want to do, accomplish and feel like in 2020.
December was chill, a little emotional and eye-opening, which finished my year off just as transformational as the rest.
Life tip: Get off of social media. I say this a lot because it’s something I personally struggle with. But when I am off I feel so much better about myself and I’m more productive. I recommend turning your phone on airplane mode while you sleep and only turning it back on for notifications after you do a morning routine.
2019 was the year I got really real, extra honest, vulnerable and very emotional. It was the year that I accepted spirituality, it was the year that I grew in ways I didn’t know possible and it was the year that has lead me to where I am now, exactly where I’m supposed to be, just like you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be too.
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